If you work with computers you’ve likelyheard terms like RAM hard drive andprocessor mentioned by tech support orothers who are more interested in whatgoes on inside of a computer’s case.Ifyou’ve always wondered what the variouscomponents of your computer are for, butnever really had the time to lookinto it, then this article will help you.
Each one of these components iscomplex enough to spend a lifetimelearning about, yet I will give you a verybroad and general overview of a typicaldesktop computer.
There are 7 essential parts to a computer, which are;
- Computer case;
- Power supply;
- Hard drive and;
- Graphics card.
The case isnothing more than a big hunk of plasticthat houses everything else. Some cases have more or less physical space, some ofthem have different parts, where you canput screws in or this or that but at theend of the day all the case really doesis provide a nice enclosed system foreverything else.
Thepower supply in your computer is always located on the bottom, it isthe part that plugs into the wall andprovides all of the other parts with theelectricity needed to do their thing.Youcan think of it as an extremely advancedAC adapter.
The motherboard is a wide and flat circuitboard that all of the other componentsplug into. It’s the part that lets all ofthese components send electricalcurrents, which is the data, between eachother. The motherboard is arguably the mostimportant component because without ityou’d have nowhere to put anything else.
A CPU is also known as the centralprocessing unit or processor.The CPU is where yourcomputer does things. It isn’t really capable of storing verymuch data at all, but it’s very good atdoing things with data, such as quickly reading and arranging it. It does quickand massive calculations needed to runyour programs.
Computers are pretty much all the same, there are different capacities and CPU speeds though, so if you are a small business coach doing mainly text files and replying to emails, or are a movie animator, you will have different CPU and speed requirements.
RAM and hard drive
Let’s talk about RAM andhard drive at the same time, because theyhave a very unique relationship which isprobably why people often confuse the two. Your hard drive is where all of your data is stored. When your computer tellsyou you’re running low on space, it’sbecause your hard drive is almost full.
All of the data that makes up yourvideos, pictures, documents, etc are all stored here.Small files like simple text files, and huge files like movie files, as well as all the different files that Australian software and other programs make, in between.
While harddrives can store lots of data, they’rerelatively bad at accessing that dataquickly. That’s where RAM comes in. RAM is anotherform of storage; it stores the exact samekind of data as your hard drive, but RAMsacrifices storage space for nearlyinstant accessibility.
Lastly, the graphics card. With all of the calculations going on inyour computer to turn a bunch of numbersthat basically come down to ones andzeros into a constantly updated3-dimensional world, the final and mostimportant and arguably most difficultstep is to display that on your monitor.
This is possible for your motherboard to dothis alone, but it’s not going to look goodand it’s certainly not going to be able todo much.Your graphics card isessentially an entire computer in and ofitself dedicated to the sole task offiguring out what pixels need to lightup on your screen, and in what colour and atwhat time.
I hopeI have helped explain what the seven critical components of a computer are, and how they all work and interoperate to be what we enjoy today.